The International Board on Books for Young People announced the winners of the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Awards from the Bologna Book Fair on Monday. María Teresa Andruetto from Argentina has won the 2012 Author Award and Peter Sís from the Czech Republic has won the 2012 Illustrator Award. Andruetto and Sís will receive their awards at the IBBY Congress in London on August 25.

The Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is considered the most prestigious in international children’s literature, is given biennially by IBBY to a living author and illustrator whose complete works are judged to have made lasting contributions to children's literature.

The awards jury cited Andruetto’s “mastery in writing important and original works that are strongly focused on aesthetics. Her books relate to a great variety of topics, such as migration, inner worlds, injustice, love, poverty, violence or political affairs.” She was selected from a list of 27 nominated authors.

The jury praised Sís’s “extraordinary originality and deep creative power to relate highly complex stories that can be interpreted on many different levels,” noting “his use of different design and artistic techniques.” He was chosen from 30 nominated illustrators.

Also awarded were the 2012 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Awards. This year they went to Abuelas Cuentacuentos in Argentina and SIPAR in Cambodia. Abuelas Cuentacuentos (the Grandmother Storytelling Program) is organized by the Mempo Giardinelli Foundation, and trains older people to read stories to children. Volunteers participate in programs in schools throughout the city of Resistencia in northeastern Argentina, promoting reading to thousands of the poorest children, many of them living in marginal communities.

SIPAR, which began as a Franco/Cambodian association in 1982 to help Cambodian refugees during the Khmer Rouge regime, runs training workshops for publishing, writing and illustration, mostly for children’s books, including a small publishing department run by Cambodians. The jury especially cited the group’s longterm training, which will build a book culture in the country and address a big literacy need.